As we reported two weeks ago, Parks Victoria is currently planning a review of the Castlemaine Diggings NHP Heritage Action Plan. The Plan is now 14 years old, and could maybe do with an update.
Part of this review is a public survey, details of which can be found in our Post.
FOBIF will have a say in this process, but already we’re finding it a little peculiar.
For a start, there’s nothing in the survey which refers in any way to the Heritage Action Plan: it’s a set of questions asking people what they think of the park.
Maybe this isn’t so surprising, because this admirable plan is probably one of the most unread documents in Australia. It’s not available online, and it’s practically impossible to find a hard copy.
To find out how it should be revised, it might have been a good idea to make it better known, so that interested members of the public could see if it’s still relevant (as we think it is).
The current Heritage Action Plan is quite a dynamic document. On the forest setting of the park, for example, it reads
‘The current forest setting…highlights the transience of mining, demonstrates the severe environmental impact that can result from inadequate environmental constraint, and illustrates some of the resilience of Australia’s native vegetation.’ This kind of observation is consistent with this, from the National Trust: ‘A sanitised heritage presenting a safe interpretation of history and culture holds little appeal and will not generate interest amongst tourists.’
These observations are important because if you take them seriously then your approach to the presentation of the Park will be markedly different from what it now is. Currently, the park, and the region, tend to be symbols of the glory of gold. The picture is more complicated and interesting than that, and FOBIF hopes to make this clear in its submission.
If you have the time, there’s an opportunity to let Parks know your view on the Park’s heritage values. Parks is running a program of walks through three sections of the Diggings Park as part of its consultation process on the Heritage Action Plan. See our following Post.